1980 Gary Justice, 23.1
1981 Gay Elmore, 25.0
ON THE SUBJECT OF SHAVING
There were reports last week that the FBI is looking into the possibility that unusually large sums of money were bet this past season on two or more Big Eight Conference basketball games. According to those accounts, the FBI was trying to determine whether points were shaved or point spreads otherwise manipulated. In the absence of more specific information, Big Eight officials immediately defended the integrity of their players and referees, which is probably as it should be. However, Nebraska Athletic Director Bob Devaney clearly overdid it when he dismissed the possibility that any Corn-huskers may have been involved in wrongdoing by saying. "Our squad wasn't good enough to shave points." Since point shaving has more to do with honest effort than with talent, Devaney's statement was ludicrous.
But then, the subject of shaving points in college basketball often produces rash words. When the sport was rocked by a major point-shaving scandal in 1951, Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp sanctimoniously said, "Gamblers couldn't get at my boys with a 10-foot pole." After several Kentucky stars were implicated in the widening scandal a few days later, Rupp lamely tried to distinguish the case from baseball's 1919 Black Sox scandal. He said: "The Black Sox threw games, but these kids only shaved points."
The notion that shaving points is less heinous than the outright throwing of games persists to the present day. In fact, when an underdog tries to shave points, it is, by definition, trying to lose. In the case of a favorite, it's possible to shave points and still win. In the process, however, the shavers are giving fans less than their money's worth, betraying their teammates and robbing rivals of authentic competition. In other words, they're cheating. This is why the point-shaving scandal that broke last January at Boston College is so disturbing. It's also why people were hoping last week that there was nothing really amiss in the Big Eight Conference.